Spread the love
It is no secret that The Kimberley region in North Western Australia was one of the highlights of our trip around Australia. This remote and remarkable vast land is virtually untouched and unchanged by man. It is described as being one of the world’s last great wilderness areas and features the most diverse unique wildlife, mysterious cave systems, spectacular waterfalls, mangrove fringed estuaries, rugged red ranges decorated with sacred Aboriginal rock art and the wonder of the Bungle Bungles.
The Kimberley region stretches from Broome in the west to Kununurra in the east and covers 421,000 square kilometres in area. To reach the Bungle Bungles in the Purnululu National Park you travel north-east of Broome across the sealed Great Northern Highway for a distance of around 800kms, or a drive of 250km south from Kununurra. Once you reach the turnoff for the Purnululu National Park it is a further 53 kms over unsealed road to the Bungle Bungles.
We stayed a couple of nights at the Bungle Bungles Caravan Park just off the Great Northern Highway on the shores of Spring Creek so that we could leave our caravan and travel the distance over the very rough roads into the Bungle Bungles. However there is also free camping at a highway rest-stop, but probably not as secure as staying in the Caravan Park. Although the drive is rough and dusty and can take several hours, we were not disappointed by the magical sight of these unusual dome-shaped rocks.
Unrivalled in their scale, grandeur and diversity of form anywhere in the world, are the Bungle Bungles Range’s extraordinary array of banded sandstone domes. Covering a whopping 45,000 hectares of the park, these dramatically sculptured natural formations are sometimes likened to black and orange striped ‘beehives’.
The history of the Bungle Bungles is that until 1982, they remained largely undiscovered. They were known to local cattle stockmen and Aborigines and then a visiting film crew were filming a documentary in the Kimberleys and discovered them from the air. The Western Australian government creating the Purnululu National Park in 1987 and in 2003 the Bungle Bungles was inscribed a World Heritage area.
The scientific explanation for the unusual orange and dark grey banding on the conical rock formations is that they are caused by differences in the layers of sandstone. The darker bands are on the layers of rock which hold more moisture, and are a dark algal growth. The orange coloured layers are stained with iron and manganese mineral deposits. Hence the black and orange “beehive” comparison.
There are several options for seeing these natural wonders. You can fly over in a light plane or jump on a scenic helicopter flight out of Kununurra or at the Bungle Bungles Caravan Park, join a 4WD bus tour into the park or drive in yourself. However a 4WD is mandatory as there are several creek crossings and the road has some deep ruts until you reach the entrance to the park where the road improves somewhat.
There are several camping spots within the National Park so that you can spend as long as you like exploring the terrain. Walking tracks are the best way to explore the remarkable features of the Bungle Bungles and there are several trails available from easy 1km loops walks to more challenging two to seven day hikes.
Echidna Chasm in the Northern Bungle Bungles area where you can walk into a spectacular 200m chasm with its varying colour hues. The walk starts in a wide creek bed, before getting narrower and narrower as you continue. The mid-point of the wall features sheer walls separated by a thin 1m gap!
Mini Palms Gorge in the Northern Bungle Bungles is a walk that features soaring cliffs, Livistona palms, two viewing platforms and an amphitheatre far below. The gorge ends at a spectacular lookout which gives you a unique view of the sheer, vertical walls.
The Domes walk in the Southern Bungle Bungles loops around banded domes towering majestically around you, accessible from the Piccaninny Creek car park and day use area.
Cathedral Gorge walk in the Southern Bungle Bungles is through striped domes, rock pools, towering cliffs and honeycomb rocks that lead to an amphitheatre and swimming hole.
Piccaninny Gorge walk is a challenging two to seven day hike into a remote and magnificent gorge leading to a lookout and spinifex covered grasslands. This hike takes you further into the amazing rock formations of the Bungle Bungles and follows the course of a dried creek bed, weaving around for several kilometres taking in a number of attractions.
I would advise if you only have a day in the Bungle Bungles, like we did, take in Echidna Chasm, The Domes and Cathedral Gorge walks. These are all very manageable and only require a low level of fitness.
The intriguing fact about the Bungle Bungles is their comparatively recent discovery of only 35 years ago. It makes me wonder whether these hidden gems were purposely kept secret to protect it from tourists? It also makes me wonder whether there are more secrets to be unveiled in Australia’s vast remote terrain?
Linking up with Travel Photo Thursday
Kathy was a 50 something year old when she started up this blog 6 years ago, but has since turned over another decade and is now in her early 60s. She is married with two adult children and lives on the Tweed Coast of New South Wales, Australia. Kathy enjoys living life to the fullest and loves to keep fit and active by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. Some of her interests include reading, photography, travelling, cooking and blogging! Kathy works part-time as a freelance writer but her real passion is travelling and photographing brilliant destinations both within Australia and overseas and writing about it.
Comments are closed.
Red Nomad OZ (Marion Halliday)March 14, 2017
Fantastic! The Bungle Bungles were one of the areas we reluctantly decided to leave off our itinerary because we didn’t have time to do everything. I hope I’ll get there one day! We DID visit Mirima NP in Kununurra which is the Bungles in miniature! We also visited Keep River National Park with similar formations – but I’ll bet NOTHING is as good as the real thing :D
KathyMarch 14, 2017
I can understand that it is difficult to see absolutely everything when you’re on the road. We felt disappointed that we never visited Karijini National Park in the Pilbara for the same reasons. We didn’t visit Mirima NP or Keep River NP as we kind of rushed through the Northern Territory trying to get back home to Queensland. We intend do the Territory at a later stage. The Bungle Bungles were a huge highlight of our trip and can recommend them highly. :)
JoMarch 14, 2017
One of the most stunning, and most remote places in Australia. I love your photos and this post as it took me right back to our trip there in 2012. Oh how time flies. Definitely time to go back and do some more exploring before mass tourism gets busy up there!
KathyMarch 14, 2017
Aren’t they just? I adored The Kimberley – the colours, the remoteness, the landscapes and the history just enthralled me. I need to go back here someday and explore some more as well! :)
LindaMarch 14, 2017
We were in the Kimberleys the year before the Bungle Bungles were “discovered” so need to go back!
Your photos are all gorgeous – It looks as though it is well and truly worth the rough road in!
KathyMarch 14, 2017
You have no idea Linda! Our car actually developed a deafening noise as we were about 20 kms into the drive into the Bungle Bungles, so we had to turn around only to find that “turning around” actually solved the problem. It is so fascinating that they were only discovered 35 years ago. It made the experience of visiting these wonders even more intriguing! :)
JaneMarch 14, 2017
What a stunning place, thanks for sharing it! It’s been on my hit list for years and I know people who have only flown over as they thought the drive may not be interesting… how wrong, as you have shown!
KathyMarch 14, 2017
Yes I wonder why people fly over natural wonders like the Bungle Bungles, (as they do over the Grand Canyon). I think it is mandatory to see things from the ground up and experience the chasms, gorges, towering rockfaces, rock pools and lookouts of the Bungle Bungles. It was a fascinating place. :)
AnneMarch 15, 2017
Amazing! I would love to visit the Bungle Bungles and everywhere in between.
KathyMarch 15, 2017
The Bungle Bungles are amazing! It is definitely a region that everyone should experience. The Kimberley abounds with beauty. :)
Sue from Sizzling Towards 60 & BeyondMarch 16, 2017
Stunning photos Kathy and this area is definitely on my bucket list. The problem is we keep booking travel for overseas when our own backyard is so gorgeous. Beautiful photographs, thanks for sharing.
KathyMarch 16, 2017
We’re guilty of this too Sue. We have decided that we should travel overseas whilst we can handle the long distances and effort involved in travelling to far away places. We are also planning another caravan trip early next year tracing the Murray River from Victoria to South Australia, so that should be interesting. I think we need to mix it up a bit and see both overseas and in our own country. :)
budget janMarch 19, 2017
I didn’t realize the Bungle Bungles had only been on the tourist radar for 35 years. All the more reason to visit. Your photos are gorgeous.
KathyMarch 19, 2017
Yes they had been kept secret all that time which is pretty cool when you think about it. I did enjoy the Bungle Bungles immensely and was so glad we made the effort to drive into this very scenic national park. The photos probably don’t do it justice. :)
Lyn aka TheTravelling LindfieldsMarch 26, 2017
Thanks for all the great information. David and I are off to the Kimberleys in a couple of months and visiting the Bungle Bungles is high on my list.
KathyMarch 27, 2017
Ok great! The Bungle Bungles are definitely worth visiting. We’re hoping to drive the Gibb River Road one of these days to further immerse ourselves in this dramatic region. I hope you enjoy your trip. :)